Happy Women’s Equality Day! Today celebrates the adoption of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. Now, it would be remiss if I didn’t mention that not all women were granted the right to vote on this day 100 years ago, but it was a small step in the right direction. Small steps turn into giant leaps eventually (I hope).
I wanted to celebrate some of my favorite female authors and authors I hope to read more from. I have so many female authors I love, so I left a little list of honorable mentions at the bottom of this post.
Let’s get started…
Books I’ve Read
one | The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
The Great Believers takes place in 1985-1991 Chicago as well as 2015 Paris. The LGBTQ community of Chicago is experiencing a genocide. AIDS has taken hold of the community, and it is ripping apart families and friendships. Makkai follows Yale’s story in Chicago and Fiona’s story in Paris. Both stories feature the idea of lost love, lost family, and lost time in totally different ways. Fiona is a key character throughout the Chicago timeline as well as the Paris timeline, and as a reader, you can’t help but love and hate her at the same time. Even though you go into this story knowing there probably isn’t any hope, you still cling to it — hoping the best for the boys who you know too well are going to most likely end up as corpses. Makkai has a few tricks up her sleeve and crafts a beautiful story of love, loss, redemption, and friendship. This is a must-read.
two | Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover’s break out memoir is simply fantastic. It is a non-fiction read that I couldn’t put down. Tara writes about her life growing up in a very strict Mormon household and how she broke away from her family to pursue an education. Education is life-changing. The themes of family loyalty, ignorance, and education are topics every reader can relate to. Read my full book review of Educated.
three | The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
My mom recommended this book to me so long ago, and I’m so glad she did. Hannah writes of France during World War II and the secret role women played in saving thousands of international lives. It’s a truly heartbreaking story, but it’s also so elegantly written and inspiring for any reader. Hannah perfectly portrays the strength that women had to have every day to keep going when that truly seemed like the hardest thing to be doing at the time. Many people have read of, or reflect, on the tremendous bravery of the men that fought this battle, but few truly know of how instrumental women were to this war. Reading of Isabelle’s bravery and Vianne’s strength helped remind me of the fire within myself. Read my full book review of The Nightingale.
four | Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere starts off with where the story actually ends and then goes back to fill in all the missing pieces. Personally, I’ve never cared about spoilers because I’m truly interested in the journey, so this book started in the best way possible for me. Ng’s book features single-mother Mia and her daughter Pearl, the Richardson family (whom Pearl befriends), and the McCullough’s, who are hoping to adopt a baby. These three families’ lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and the true mystery of the story — how Pearl and Mia became such a dynamic duo — is revealed. This book traps reader’s from the very first page.
five | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Korede is called in time and time again to save her sister from herself. Korede’s sister keeps killing her boyfriends. Korede struggles with turning her sister in to the Nigerian police, but ultimately, she decides family is more important than anything else. That is, until Korede’s sister starts dating the doctor Korede has been madly in love with for some time. Korede must choose between saving the man she loves from the inevitable or protecting her sister.
Books I Want to Read
one | Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Jojo and his younger sister Kayla live with their grandparents. Mam is dying of cancer, and Pap is trying to teach Jojo how to be a man. Sometimes, their mother Leonie shows up, but she’s usually high and experiencing hallucinations of her dead brother. When Jojo and Kayla’s white father is released from prison, Leonie packs up her kids and sets out for the Mississippi Penitentiary. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family.
two |You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat
Imagine telling your mother you’re queer, and he responding with, “You exist too much.” That’s exactly what happens to Arafat’s protagonist in this gripping story about cultural, religious, and sexual identities. This book follows a girl from the Middle East to the US as she discovers who she really is by unfolding her traumas and reflecting on the places and things that helped form her.
three | Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh
Positioned as a Handmaid’s Tale-esque story, Blue Ticket is about a world where motherhood is based on a lottery system. When girls come of age, they draw a ticket to determine their fate — white means you’ll get married and have children, and blue means you will have a career and no family. When the main character, Calla, draws a blue ticket, she beings to question everything.
four | Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
This one especially interests me because it’s about a Jamaican British woman (my parents were both born and raised in Jamaica). Queenie Jenkins is living in London searching for herself after a particularly messy breakup that leaves her dating the wrong guys for quite some time. Queenie finds herself wondering what she is doing, why she is doing it, and asking herself who she wants to be. This coming-of-age story isn’t just about Queenie being torn between her roots and her surroundings, but also about what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.
five | Afterland by Lauren Beukes
Who run the world? Girls. In this post-pandemic world (not coronavirus based, thankfully), women are in charge after the majority of the male population has been wiped out due to sickness. Men are incredibly valuable in this world, so the main character, Cole, must protect her son, Miles, at all costs.
I love so many female authors, so here are some more bad-ass ladies you should check out (this list is obviously not exhaustive):
- V.E. Schwab
- Elizabeth Gilbert
- Angie Thomas
- Rosie Walsh
- Colleen Hoover
- Elizabeth E. Wein
- Sabaa Tahir
- Carola Lovering
- Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie